David McConkey - Columnist, Consultant, Citizen
Columnist. Consultant. Citizen.

“Green Drinks” Now in Brandon

Brandon Sun, March 26, 2006 - David McConkey

Green Drinks are not just what you quaff on St. Patrick’s Day. In Brandon, they can now be enjoyed throughout the year - the second Tuesday of every second month, to be exact. That’s when anyone interested in environmental issues can get together, and be part of the informal “Green Drinks” global network.
“We noticed Green Drinks on a listing of quirky environmental websites,” reports Catherine Taylor, who, along with Deanna Ginn, organizes the Brandon effort. The idea is to plan a regular meeting time and location. People show up, order a drink and perhaps a snack, and the conversations flow. Interest in environmental concerns is the unifying theme.

Green Drinks started in England in 1989. Some people who worked in the environment field were out at a pub and invited others they happened to meet there to pull some tables together. When they decided to make the gathering a regular event, a movement was born. The idea spread via the Internet (greendrinks.org) and is now alive in more than 100 cities worldwide.

“Why wait for someone else to do it?” Taylor and Ginn asked themselves, as they wondered about a Green Drinks in Brandon. They figured that every two months would be a sustainable schedule. Organizing consists of setting aside the Tuesday evening, booking a comfy corner at the Double Decker, putting up a few posters, and sending out reminder emails.

Thousands of people attend Green Drinks in places all over the globe, from India to Chile to Finland.

“These events are very simple and unstructured,” notes the Green Drinks website, “but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity.”

The website offers stories, local news, and tips on organizing new Green Drinks.

Brandon Green Drinks joins similar events in eight other cities in Canada. Taylor and Ginn hope to soon have a Brandon page on the Green Drinks International website.

Last week at the Brandon Green Drinks, about a dozen people joined in the conversation. As well, there was information distributed about Westman Recycling’s Annual General Meeting, the City of Brandon’s new by-law regulating the use of pesticides, a membership form for the Brandon and Area Environmental Council, and an event marking World Water Day.

Green Drinks adds to the city’s life. Getting to it on bus seems environmentally appropriate. For my wife and me, the Number 20 bus from home conveniently stops right across Rosser from the tavern. Unfortunately, the last bus leaves downtown at 9:30 p.m. and that is just too early to wrap up an evening, even on a school or work night.

An environmental, lively night life needs better bus service. Take note, city hall. (Later note: the last bus now leaves downtown at 11:30 p.m. woo hoo!)

Green Drinks in Brandon happens on the second Tuesday of every second month. Mark the next one on your calendar: May 9, starting at 8:00 p.m., at the Double Decker.

Hope to see you there!



David McConkey,
Brandon, Manitoba
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